We’re all very familiar with the brain-shaking, jaw-cracking power in Francis Ngannou’s hands.
But beneath all the head-chopping knockouts were a couple of submission wins for “The Predator.” In fact, his professional debut ended in his opponent tapping to a brutal shoulder lock armbar.
The fight happened in 2013 under the 100% Fight promotion in France. The 27-year-old Ngannou was matched up against fellow debutante Rachid Benzina, who likely had a rude and tangible introduction to what heavyweight power was all about.
Benzina felt that right from the get-go. After getting dropped by a short left hook to the temple, he decided to switch to wrestling mode which really didn’t get him anywhere.
Benzina was wobbled and dropped two more times by single shots. He then went back into his panic wrassling ways, which turned out to be a regrettable decision.
Ngannou pulled his hips back, pushed Benzina’s head towards the canvas, and created an opening for the finish. The fight was over in less than two minutes of action.
I was particularly impressed with his use of the head push to further stretch the shoulder out and make it a more uncomfortable experience. I have zero knowledge about Ngannou’s submission grappling experience at the time, but for a debuting fighter, that right there was veteran savviness.
Ngannou is currently slated for his second title fight in a rematch against Stipe Miocic at UFC 260 next month. The champ says he expects the same outcome, but personally, I beg to differ.